Real Gents

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Ironically, the health food campaign comes a cropper. Suddenly I am a jailor on death row with my life set to 24 hour egg watcher, anything to stop him from grabbing the salt cellar and emptying it down his gullet. Maybe it's the shapeliness, or the pastel colours, but something has revived his need for sodium chloride. Inevitably my back is turned on one or other whilst I use my best extraction services.

I spend an inordinate amount of time chasing him all over the house. As he runs he chants his new mantra, 'you've got mail, you've got mail, you've got mail,' with more animation and expression than I could ever have imagined. When I pin him down to pry open his grinning jaws and sniff for evidence, he responds with his alternative mantra, “greased lightning!” and a chortle. It occurs to me that I have a missed career opportunity as a tracker dog. I also regret refilling the container, twice. I'm tempted to empty it down the sink to refill with castor sugar but I believe that would constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

When I find the empty 16 ounce carton of raisins I realize that what with “one thing” and “several others,” that my supervisory skills are overwhelmed. I examine the potential candidates for tell tale signs. Which one is the guilty party? I have far too much choice. I consider the effect of 16 ounces of dried fruit upon the average digestive system but I have no hard data to rely upon.

Several hours later.

Post play dates, I have one child to collect. I work backwards to allow us to arrive on time with an allowance for the unexpected. We prepare to depart an hour in advance. Two boys.

I hear a small bleat from the bathroom.

From this particular child, it is the kind of bleat that doesn't really register, since volume control is generally off the scales. It is hard to find a suitable comparison. It's the kind of 'tsk' noise one might make on finding a piece of fluff on clothing. A quick flick and it's gone, of no consequence.

The bleat does not match the scene of devastation. I inadvertently squeak which brings his brother running in to observe, “what happen?” he asks unnecessarily as his eyes pop out on stalks. It is still a very small bathroom with very little room for manovres. It is difficult to know where to begin, so I make a start.

Once again I have cause to doubt my purchasing powers. Why did I buy the four pack of 16 oz raisins for $10 but shun the bargain of 32 oz bottle of liquid soap for $5.00?

My brain calculates other calculations. Is it safe to assume that this is the result of a raisin overdose or is that too many assumptions. Which is worse? Ask the play date host parent to return your child, even thought that wasn't the original plan or take a child with an unstable digestive system into the car to their home to collect your other child? Is it o.k. if the wobbly child remains in the car at a safe distance? Is this o.k. if I can guarantee no contact and keep the windows wound up? Is any of the later acceptable assuming that the said child can be sanitized and dressed prior to departure? Is it possible to sanitize and dress the child prior to departure, and myself? Where is Miss Manners when I need her?

I contemplate the play date host, a man with shared custody and a complicated life. There are many families with complicated lives. I suspect that there are also a few families without any complications, somewhere? The common feature of most families, is their share of happiness, complicated or otherwise. I hear the front door slam to announce the arrival of the cavalry, my eldest daughter. I explain. “No probs, you go, I'll be on bum watch.”

Horray! One less mind numbing decision to make.

I drive with careful speed to pull into their driveway where I meet 4 happy girls and a happy father with culinary skills, a blue tooth and a foreign accent.

But I would never be one to summarize a single dad in brief.
It seems to me that there are “dads” all over the “place,” both “chaps” and “chapesses” that ‘get it.’

Maybe I should add a poll? What would be the correct thing to do in such circumstances if the cavalry hadn't arrived? You never know, you might be next, on one end or the other of the toilet plunger?

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